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1 User Review
LAST UPDATED: January 13th, 2021

Founded in 1995, the DNA Diagnostics Center offers its brand of HomeDNA at-home testing products and services. Tests are available for ancestry, health and wellness, and even pets. The Ohio lab processes more than 1 million samples each year. In 20 years, the company has handled more than 10 million DNA samples from over 160 countries.
DNA testing kits can be purchased either at the store or online (some are only available via one of the other). The DNA collection kit requires a painless cheek swab that you will need to mail back to the lab via a prepaid mailer. Wait times vary based on the type of test you choose. Once your results are ready, you will be notified via email.  
Keep reading our HomeDNA review to learn more about the pros and cons of HomeDNA, its tests, and policies.


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The Good

  • Different Type of Autosomal Analysis
  • Variety of DNA Test Kit Options
  • Sample Reports
  • Free Shipping
  • Availabe in Retail Locations
  • Cheek Swab
  • Innocence Project
  • Samples Destroyed
  • Data Upload

Different Type of Autosomal Analysis

While other companies offer autosomal ancestry DNA testing that provides an ethnicity estimate of your individual makeup, the HomeDNA GPS origins test is a little different. The test views human populations differently. It considers everyone's DNA as a mixture of different gene pool origins. These gene pools represent the geographical locations of your DNA throughout generations.

Autosomal DNA breaks your signature into two primary components. Because it's autosomal DNA and not DNA from your sex chromosomes, this split is roughly corresponding to a paternal and maternal side of your DNA, but not always. The Autosomal DNA test will calculate migration routes in these two sections and uses circular representation for higher confidence with larger circles for lower confidence.

These geographical maps represent actual locations where your ancestors stayed and had babies, mixing their DNA with local inhabitants' DNA. It's basically showing where the original ancestors moved and mixed their DNA with local people through intermarriage.

The test also uses specific mutations in your DNA to pinpoint recent migration events and tries to explain what motivation would have led people to move from point A to B.

The GPS Origins algorithm was developed by the University of Sheffield in 2016. The research team was led by Dr. Eran Elhaik, who helped with an early version of National Geographic's Geno 2.0 test.

Variety of DNA Test Kit Options

HomeDNA offers a variety of DNA test kit options that can uncover genetic information about you and even your pets. The DNA testing company has six different Ancestry tests while other DNA companies usually have one or two options. The DNA tests fall under four different categories: ancestry, health and beauty, paternity, and pet screening. Understanding the purpose and results of each of the different tests will help you determine which kit to buy.

Ancestry tests 

  • GPS Origins Ancestry Test — As mentioned above, the GPS Origins Ancestry test offers insight into your maternal and paternal lineages’ migration patterns. The DNA test checks 80,000 genetic markers from over 1,000 reference populations and 41 gene pools. The data uses biog-geographical targeting to reveal town-level migration patterns. Results will also show the last 3 locations where your DNA signature has had significant changes. Results include a digital and interactive online format with maps of your three featured ancestral origins, as well as percentage results. The processing time is about 6 weeks for this test.  
  • GPS Origins Algorithm (Raw Data Upload) — If you have already taken an ancestry DNA test with another company, you can upload your raw DNA data to receive a GPS Origins report. This is the cheapest and fastest DNA test offered by HomeDNA. Your test results will be ready within 24 hours after upload. You will receive the same information outlined in the GPS Origins Ancestry Test. 
  • HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test — The starter ancestry test does not give you much information about your ancestry. You will receive a percentage breakdown of your ancestry from four regions: East-Asian, Europe, Indigienous American, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The test also shows which present-day populations share the most DNA in common with you down to country-level. Results are delivered in a PDF format and take about 6-weeks to process once your sample gets to the lab. Upgrading to a more comprehensive ancestry test either from this company or another company will give you more value for your money.  
  • DNA Origins Maternal Lineage — This is Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) test used to identify your maternal haplogroup. The results are delivered in a PDF file including a detailed map of your maternal line’s migration patterns. The DNA sample takes about 6-8 weeks to process.  
  • DNA Origins  Paternal Lineage — This is a Y-Chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) test used to identify your paternal haplogroup. This test is only available for men because it focuses on the Y-chromosome. Like the maternal lineage test, your results will be delivered in a PDF file and the map will focus on your paternal lineage. The DNA sample takes about 6-8 weeks to process. 
  • HomeDNA Advanced Ancestry Test — This is the next step up from the starter test. With the two tests combined, you will pay the same and receive the same amount of information as the GPS Origins Ancestry Test. The one disadvantage of buying the starter and the advanced ancestry test is that you miss out on the raw data download available through the GPS Origins Ancestry Test. Results are processed in about 6 weeks. 

Health and Beauty Tests

  • Food and Pet Sensitivity — This test helps consumers understand their intolerance for things like gluten, lactose, cow milk protein, eggs, peanuts, and other foods. The test will also measure whether or not you are intolerant of pet dander and how you react to histamine. Results are delivered in a PDF file with a 6-week processing time.  
  • Healthy Weight — This test helps individuals discover which diet and exercise strategies their unique genetic makeup will best respond to. The results indicate recommended nutrients and workout plans according to your DNA. Results are delivered in a PDF file with a 6-week processing time.  
  • Skin Care — This DNA test helps consumers better understand their skin properties on a DNA level. This test includes a report outlining elasticity traits, fine lines and wrinkles traits, sun protection, pigmentation, antioxidant sensitivity, and collagen. You will also receive personalized recommendations for supplement ingredients and professional treatments to support healthy skin. Results are delivered in a PDF format and take about 6-weeks to process once your sample gets to the lab. 

Paternity Tests

HomeDNA provides at-home paternity testing. The paternity test requires a DNA sample from the mother, father, and child. While the test itself may seem rather inexpensive, the test does not include an additional lab fee that costs over $100. You will need to pay the additional fee when you register your kit online. The HomeDNA paternity test is only available in brick and mortar stores. This DNA paternity test only takes about two days to process once the sample arrives at the lab. The HomeDNA Paternity Test cannot be used in a court of law because the test could be easily manipulated without proper supervision. 

Pet Tests

HomeDNA also provides health screening tests for dogs and cats, as well as a test to identify your mixed-breed dog's actual breeds. A pet DNA test about three weeks to process. 

Sample Reports

Sample reports are available under some of the product descriptions on the HomeDNA website. In the overview section, you can view a pdf version of the sample report. This is a great way to evaluate whether or not the results will give you the type of information you are seeking. You can also view frequently asked questions about each of the products.

Free Shipping

DNA tests get free shipping. Once you collect your DNA sample, return shipping is also free, with a prepaid shipping package included in your purchase.

Available in Retail Locations

Some HomeDNA tests are available from drug stores and retail distributors. Stores such as CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart carry HomeDNA test kits. You can pick up your test from the store and mail your samples to the lab. The store availability shortens the DNA testing process by eliminating initial shipping wait times.

Cheek Swab

HomeDNA uses an easy cheek swab sample method. If for any reason your sample does not contain enough cheek cells, the company will let you know. You will have the opportunity to submit a new sample for free.

Innocence Project

The DNA Diagnostics Center works with the Innocence Project. It has helped exonerate seven people that were wrongly convicted and in prison for more than 20 years.

Samples Destroyed

When your test has been processed, your raw DNA data is saved and accessible in your account.

HomeDNA destroys samples upon request rather than storing it forever. People concerned with DNA privacy will probably be happy to know that the company destroys samples. Not all DNA testing companies offer to destroy your DNA sample.

DNA Upload

People who have taken DNA tests through other big companies can upload for $39:

  • 23andMe
  • AncestryDNA
  • FamilyTree DNA Family Finder

However, more recent versions of 23andMe or FamilyTree DNA later versions are not accepted, because the data export will not work properly

People who take GPS Origins tests can download raw DNA data to upload to other sites and algorithm analysis.


The Bad

  • Unclear Information on Website
  • Expensive Products
  • Limited Ancestry Features
  • Location Availability
  • Confusion About Where to Buy
  • Differing Results Formats
  • Insufficient Customer Reviews

Unclear Information on Website

The website mentions a regular test, an African Test, and an Asian test. A call to customer service revealed they are all the same test, with the same reference panels, gene pools, and potential results.
The Asian and African ones are there to help people who are specifically searching for African or Asian Ancestry-type tests. Out of the standard 41 gene pools tested for, 11 gene pools are tied to the continent of Africa and 17 have ties to Asia.
Although they are all the same test (testing for the same markers for the same price), the company just wants shoppers to know that people with Asian and African ancestry will be well-served with this test.

Expensive Products

Compared to other DNA testing companies, HomeDNA charges an above average price for many of its products. The company does not offer any bundling options to receive ancestry and health results. You are required to buy products separately which can quickly add up with the purchase of one to two tests.

Limited Ancestry Features

HomeDNA does not offer a family tree or relative finder service with its Ancestry test. Other DNA testing companies such as AncestryDNA and 23andMe provide these services along with maps showing basic migration patterns. These companies also update their results and send you new relative matches as their databases expand. If you are interested in learning more about your family tree or connecting with relatives, you should consider choosing a different DNA testing company.

Location Availability

Some of the company's DNA testing services are not available in New York or Maryland. This is often the case for health screening and risk factor tests. Different states have their own rules about this type of testing.

Confusion About Where to Buy

Some of HomeDNA's testing Kits are available only through retail stores, while others are only available for purchase online.

Differing Results Formats 

When you buy a DNA test from home DNA, your results can be presented differently depending on the test you take. Some tests will provide a digital PDF that's personalized with your test details. Others have an interactive online experience rather than an easily printable PDF.

If you are looking for hard copy results or access to digital interactive results, be sure you check which comes with the test you are thinking of purchasing.

Insufficient Customer Reviews

Best Company has not received enough HomeDNA reviews to make a final recommendation. Customers should consider choosing a different DNA testing company with an established customer recommendation.


The Bottom Line

HomeDNA has lots of test options, at a variety of price points. Its genealogical tests are unique, available in different versions in stores and online, and its traits tests are pretty straightforward, with recommendations on how to use this information to improve your health.
Online shoppers get free shipping for their DNA kit as well as postage-paid return packaging for their sample.
Processing times vary depending on the complexity of the test you are taking. Because of insufficient customer insight, we recommend choosing a different DNA testing company with reputable customer feedback. You can find a company that specializes in your area of interest such as health or ancestry. Explore the top ranked DNA testing companies
Have you taken a HomeDNA test? Would you recommend it to a friend? Let us know by leaving a review below. 

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Diane Hoenes Spring, TX

Took original, sent in a second sample for further info, said it didn't take well enough so I needed to send another; processing too slow overall

2 years ago